How do you know if you've got what it takes to be an ER nurse?

  1. Hi I'm really considering being an ER nurse but how do you know you've got what it takes? I mean everything I've seen and heard about ER nurses interests me but what if I do decide to go into emergency nursing and it's not all that I thought it would be? So if any of you have any suggestions to help me make my decision that'd be great.
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   student4ever
    Quote from Beth_audrey
    Hi I'm really considering being an ER nurse but how do you know you've got what it takes? I mean everything I've seen and heard about ER nurses interests me but what if I do decide to go into emergency nursing and it's not all that I thought it would be? So if any of you have any suggestions to help me make my decision that'd be great.
    Go shaddow an ER nurse and see what it's really like! The best thing about nursing is there are so many different specialties and areas. If you get into one and it's not for you, there are tons of other opportunities!
  4. by   soliant12
    With the nursing shortage so large the only thing you need to be an ER nurse is a license and a pulse.
  5. by   cursenurse
    you've got to like working with a team. you have to be thickskinned, (that goes for all of nursing, but especially er) and you have to be able to enjoy a fast paced environment.
  6. by   Katnip
    Quote from soliant12
    With the nursing shortage so large the only thing you need to be an ER nurse is a license and a pulse.
    I wouldn't go quite that far. Individuals tend to be suited to particular types of nursing depending on the person's strengths. Not everyone is suited for ER. Or med/surg or OR or any other specialty.

    ER you have to be able to be flexible to handle a minor cold with one hand and a head bleed with the other. Unless you work in a hospital with a dedicated peds ED, you'll have to be able to treat adults and kids equally efficiently and competently. And like just about every other specialty, you need to be very, very organized and have excellent assessment skills. You need to be able to readjust priorities at the drop of a hat when you get hit with walk ins and a couple of ambulances.
  7. by   galenight
    It doesn't hurt to be an adrenaline junkie either! Also, you have to be able to like or at least be able to deal with the unexpected. Not knowing what is going to happen from minute to minute is what keeps it interesting, but it's also what can make it maddening. You also need to be able to be a bit more autonomous as the ER docs often rely on you to get the ball rolling or to keep it rolling. I definitely agree with the previous poster who said you have to be thick-skinned. Even in the small rural Er where I work people are just rude sometimes. One other point, if you have a need to see a patients course through and know how they come out in the end, this may not be the place for you. While we do find out once in a while how patients' fair, mostly we have no idea. Good luck
  8. by   traumaRUs
    I have been an ER RN for almost 10 years now. Here's the qualities I think are important for ER RNs:

    1. Sense of humor.
    2. Excellent and quick assessment skills.
    3. Great people skills - you must like people.
    4. Sense of humor.
    5. Ability to move quickly...out of the way of vomit and other things.
    6. Adrenaline junkie.
    7. Great pathophysio and A&P knowledge. You simply have to know the why's of care.
    8. Organized.
    9. Realistic - you will see things that literally tear your heart out - you must keep going and be able to prioritize care.
    10. Sense of humor.
  9. by   Beth_audrey
    Quote from student4ever
    Go shaddow an ER nurse and see what it's really like! The best thing about nursing is there are so many different specialties and areas. If you get into one and it's not for you, there are tons of other opportunities!
    Thanks so much for all the info! I really like what I've read and I think I would like to be an ER nurse. I would love to hear stories from your past experiences. If I end up not liking it well like student4ever said there are tons of other oppurtunities. Thanks again.
  10. by   chip193
    You need a sense of humor, the confidence to do your job well, and the confidence to ask when you're not sure.

    You take those three points, you got it made!

    And, oh yeah, don't forget the sense of humor.

    Chip
  11. by   traumaRUs
    I have found the sense of humor is most important. You have to realize people can do really, really stupid things and end up in your ER wanting help.
  12. by   Katnip
    I have to agree with the sense of humor. Sometimes it's the only thing that can get you through some tough situations.
  13. by   bluemerle
    Is the burn out rate high in this department?

    I thought that you had to have a bit of experience under your belt before you could go into ER. Can you really go in right after you are done with your education?

    Melody :Snowman1:
  14. by   chip193
    Quote from bluemerle
    Is the burn out rate high in this department?

    I thought that you had to have a bit of experience under your belt before you could go into ER. Can you really go in right after you are done with your education?

    Melody :Snowman1:
    It's amazing what you can get right into when there's a shortage!

    Chip

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